Friday, August 28, 2009

The Me Generation

A national study fresh out of SDSU is confirming that Generation Y really is Generation Me. The jaw-dropping conclusion? 57% of young people believe their generation uses social networking sites for self-promotion, narcissism and attention seeking. While it’s no surprise that social media would cater to a more self-promotional audience, it’s certainly interesting to note that not only does Gen Y think of their social behaviors as narcissistic, but almost 40% (39.27%) agree that “being self-promoting, narcissistic, overconfident, and attention-seeking is helpful for succeeding in a competitive world.”Jennifer Van Grove

Read the article here.

Does this surprise anyone really? It's hard to believe that an entire generation is falling into this category. What is even more surprising for me is that I fall into that generation. There are no real precise dates as to when generation Y starts and ends but by most estimates it is the people born from the 1970's to the 1990's. To give you some perspective, college freshman this year were born in 1991.

So what does this say about the adolescents that are coming up in the ranks? Will they continue the trend? Will they become more self centered and narcissistic to the point that no one cares for their neighbor anymore?

Comments that surrounded the article consisted of people thinking that narcissistic people might think themselves to good for the social websites and that people who us them are more bipolar by nature. I think there is some truth in this statement because every adolescent today is growing up a little bipolar.

The fact is, people are putting on different masks in order to be around or in their different groups. They have their close cluster of friends, one mask, they have their sports team, another mask, not to mention home, church, when they are with extended family, in class at school, or just walking the halls. Each situation is warranting a different personality. Throw on top of that what they put out into the world through facebook and myspace and it complicates matters even more.

So where is the real person under all of this? That is a hard question and the only way you are gong to find out who they really are is by getting to know them and really sending tons of time together. As a youth director I can't possibly spend all my time with every youth out there, there is just not enough time in the day. But if I strive....if we strive to make every encounter with youth a meaningful one we can begin to strip away the masks and hopefully see the true person underneath.